Schlepping Miss Norma -- soft bag for a 5x7?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by steverez, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. steverez

    steverez Member

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    Greetings all,

    I'm relatively new to LF, having finally fulfilled a decade long
    fantasy just over a year ago with a class and camera. My current
    rig, not quite complete (I'd still like a 300mm Fuji or Nikon), is a 5x7
    Norma.

    I'm mostly happy with the camera, but the box is a PITA, as it
    weighs more than the camera, a lens and half a dozen holders
    put together.

    When I took my class, the instructor had a soft case for his Toyo,
    and it seemed like a good idea -- even if the weight saving were
    nil, the comfort while carrying would be worth it.

    I'm looking for recommendations for something along these lines,
    or other transport options for that matter, that would work for
    my camera. I'm happy with a 3 package setup: Tripod and head,
    satchel w/ holders, dark cloth, meter, etc.. and camera in bag, so it
    needn't be a large trunk. Mobility and protection are more important
    than getting everything in one box/bag. I guess I fall into the "within
    xxx of the car" crowd, where xxx could be some small number of
    miles on a good day.

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks much,

    Steve

    PS. The first time I put a [4x5 even] neg in my 'new' enlager, I just about
    melted, even though it wasn't worth much pictorially. I'm hooked. ;-)
     
  2. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

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    Congrats on getting one of the best view cameras ever. I've had the 4x5 and it's great.

    Looking at the old Sinar literature it seems that you could hoist the big box onto straps and hike away in your lederhosen. But my thinking is that you are better off dividing your gear into smaller cases and putting everything into various backpacks and carrying cases. You can use cheap Rubbermaid or padded freezer bags. Or go fancy with neoprene Zing bags or Kinesis or GanssGear stuff. But by breaking stuff up into distinct units makes it easy to throw the shooting stuff into a daypack and carry the camera and tripod over your shoulder when working close to the car. Or putting everything in a larger backpack for longer hikes, or a Pelican or Lightware trunk for air travel.
     
  3. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    Steve,
    I use a 4x5 Norma and while it's a great camera, it is not the most portable. The best solution I have found for my needs is a Sherpa Cart.
    See: http://www.sherpacart.com I work primarily in urban areas or on groomed trails. Getting the cart has allowed me to travel farther with less effort than any other system. It was a revelation to get all my gear off my back. Enjoy your Norma!

    Richard Wasserman
     
  4. steverez

    steverez Member

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    Thanks to both of you for the ideas.

    Splitting up into many small packs seems like it would work
    both for carrying, and with the cart. I'll have to play with
    the camera a bit and see how it divides up, and match the
    subsets up with padding options.

    I actually use a cheap folding cart (from Costco) when I'm on
    pavement, but it just complicates things for me when I get to the
    'last mile'. The Sherpa looks quite a bit better, but it doesn't
    take much to render wheels ineffective (sand, rocks). How
    does it handle 'off road', so to speak?

    If the location is bikable, I can put the box in a kiddie trailer, which
    has room for the whole kit plus, and keeps it out of the elements.
    On one occation doing this, I wound up covering the tripod head,
    which sticks up too high to close in the trailer, with a 'LittleSwimmers' to
    keep it rom getting damp. It looked, um, odd, but hey, it was there...
    Ok, so maybe I shouldn't shoot in a drizzle... ;-)

    Thanks,

    Steve
     
  5. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    Steve,
    The Sherpa Cart works well on relatively smooth surfaces, but will handle a fair amount of bumps and debris. I have never used it in sand, but it does handle smallish rocks, tree roots, and holes with a bit of grace. It also doesn't mind going up and down hills. I have the wheels set at their maximum width and find that it is pretty stable. If things start getting tippy, I slow down and have never had a spill. I have also never used it in wilderness situations, so I can't speak to that.

    Richard Wasserman
     
  6. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Steve,
    I use a 5x7 Sinar P2. Probably weighs more than a Norma. I, too, abandoned the box. I use a large duffel bag from LL Bean, padded at the bottom with a focusing cloth. Works well and I've carried it up to two miles at a time.
    Take care,
    Tom
     
  7. felipemorgan

    felipemorgan Member

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    Portland, OR
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    For my Norma I'm using one of the PhotoBackPacker.com modified Kelty Redwing 3100 packs with a custom wooden insert. The attached picture and the others here will give you an idea: http://picasaweb.google.com/philipmorg/SinarNormaPictures?authkey=Gv1sRgCJH32ZL6-5e1sQE#

    [​IMG]

    I have only two lenses and rollfilm backs at the moment, so I don't have that many accessories, but those will be carried in a Kinesis waist pack. This will strap to the outside of the backpack when being carried and it will strap to my body when setting up and making pictures, for easy access.

    I have't had a chance to use this combination in the field yet, so it hasn't proven itself yet...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2009
  8. Bob Eskridge

    Bob Eskridge Member

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    I built a case to carry my 5X7 Norma out of a sturdy card board box. This allowed carrying the camera suspended upside down on its rail which is on supports glued inside the box, carriers for film holders, lenses and a bag bellows. A thin plywood top was glued on top and a Nylon strap was attached for carrying.

    The outside was covered with contact paper and Naughahide was glued to the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides for water proofness. The whole case is extremely light and suitable for carrying and traveling in the car and served me well.

    For backpacking short distances the case is straped to a army surplus alice backpack frame with the shelf accessory.

    Maybe this can give you some ideas.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2009